Meduza’s code of conduct
Meduza is an international Russian- and English-language publication. Every day, our correspondents and editors create content about events in Russia and around the world, reporting as accurately, objectively, and impartially as possible. We act consciously and responsibly, amplifying overlooked communities, while being careful not to harm vulnerable individuals and groups. We thoroughly examine any claims against our journalism, and we respect our readers.
In our daily work, Meduza strives to meet international professional standards, and we hold as core values the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We devote special attention to the freedom of speech and the free flow of information.
The principles and rules that guide Meduza’s daily operations are laid out in this code of ethics. We consider all staff contributing to the creation of our editorial product, including developers and designers, to be journalists, and their work is also subject to this code of ethics.
Meduza’s journalists should endeavor to avoid conflicts of interest in all circumstances.
The editorial office does not support any one political party (including movements and platforms) or any one politician, and we do not accept help from either in any form. Meduza also does not support social movements, commercial enterprises, or state agencies at any level of government, and we do not accept help from these groups. We reserve the right to report any attempts to pressure our editorial office. We devote equal attention to everyone and treat all with respect.
Meduza always covers its own costs. Whenever preparing a story, the editorial office does not accept money from outsiders, and refuses all offers to pay for or provide free transportation, housing, or food, and these same restrictions apply to all full-time and freelance correspondents and staff. This rule does not apply to free press events (like press conferences, concerts, performances, book presentations, and so on). Any exceptions to this rule are permitted only with the approval of Meduza’s editor-in-chief, and the reasons must be made clear to readers when the story is published.
The editorial office does not permit journalists who are biased toward or against the subject of a story to participate in its preparation. If this conflict of interest is somehow unavoidable, readers must be warned in the published product.
The editorial office can veto the publication of any promoted content. In all disputes, the final decision belongs to the editorial office’s authorized representative.
Meduza does not pay sources for information or reward them in any other way.
Objectivity and impartiality
Meduza is a publication founded on fact-based journalism. No story can omit or conceal from readers any fact of public significance. Every side must be given the chance to express themselves. At the same time, we purposefully seek to amplify the voices of those who often go overlooked.
Meduza’s staff cannot engage in activism while at work (except in cases of professional solidarity). Employees must inform Meduza about any civic, political, or human-rights activism conducted outside work, in order to prevent possible conflicts of interest. Meduza’s journalists should strive to report the news, not become the news.
Meduza does not use “hate speech,” and we refuse to spread, incite, or justify hatred against any group of people. We do not divide the subjects of our reporting along a dichotomy of “us versus them.” We use neutral language that does not discriminate against people on any basis.
Truthfulness and credibility
We endeavor to ensure that our reporting is based on information from named sources (two or more), though working in countries with significant legal restrictions means this is not always entirely possible. In cases when revealing a source’s identity could threaten their safety, we reserve the right to publish their comments anonymously, recognizing that we assume the reputation and legal risks associated with the information’s credibility. We also protect our sources using other legal means.
Meduza’s journalists are required to verify the facts in their stories. Our journalists are prohibited from intentionally misleading or deceiving readers. Meduza’s journalists are also forbidden from using the publication as a platform to promote their own views.
Meduza’s journalists must collect information openly, identifying themselves by their real names and the nature of their occupation. “Undercover” work is permitted in exceptional cases and only with the editor-in-chief’s approval. When publishing such reporting, we are required to inform readers about this methodology and explain why it was necessary. Recording any conversations must be carried out openly, and sources should be warned in advance.
Though it is common in Russia to allow subjects to revise their remarks after an interview, we consider this practice to be wrong and endeavor to avoid it. Meduza's editors reserve the right to determine the conditions of interviews, and persons interviewed must be notified in advance of these terms.
Our journalists’ lives and safety are our paramount concern. In the event of pressure, threats, or harassment, Meduza’s editorial office will defend its staff by all means available. The editorial office reserves the right to protect staff even in cases when this pressure is not related to employees’ activities as journalists.
Regarding vulnerable and persecuted groups, Meduza observes the principle of “do no harm.” Reporting on members of these groups should be scrutinized to identify all the ways Meduza’s stories might impact these individuals, in order to prevent any negative consequences. Staff’s careful approach cannot affect the objectivity or completeness of reporting on events that involve members of vulnerable groups.
Our main goal is to inform readers honestly about the heart of any issue, avoiding blindspots, innuendo, and omissions. Any event that is significant to the public can and should be described as truthfully as possible. We are required, however, to warn our audience when content included in a story might shock them.
Meduza does not delete published content. Rare exceptions are made only as an extreme solution after a critically large number of errors are discovered in an article. Only the editor-in-chief can approve the deletion of published content, and in these cases a detailed explanation for the decision must appear in place of the original article.
If factual or semantic errors are found in published content, they should be corrected as soon as possible. In these cases, readers should be told what changes were made and why.
Meduza operates in different countries, though we write mainly about events in Russia for Russian- and English-speaking audiences. We strive to observe the laws of both Latvia and the Russian Federation. Wherever one country’s laws contradict the other’s, as well as in cases where regulations directly or indirectly violate the freedom of speech, Meduza will act in accordance with our readers’ best interests, our code of ethics, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Rules of conduct for staff
Meduza’s employees will respect the private lives, preferences, beliefs, and tastes of their colleagues, regardless of their position. Discrimination on any grounds is prohibitted.
We do not interfere in the personal lives of our staff and we welcome any kind of relationship among coworkers, while considering it unacceptable to impose any kind of communication on colleagues that is unrelated to work. Meduza is a space completely free from any form of violence.
The public views each Meduza employee as an official representative for the publication. When acting publicly, including speech on personal platforms like social media, each staff member should weigh the possible consequences for Meduza’s reputation. All conflict situations at Meduza are resolved in accordance with the rules and procedures adopted by the editorial office.